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Use Knowledge of the Structure of Words to Help Spelling

In this worksheet, students will use their knowledge of the structure of words to help them with spelling.

Worksheet Overview

Morphology is the study of the structure of words, or how they are built up.


dictionary entry


Many words are made up of a root word, plus a prefix or suffix or both.


All the words in the list below contain the root word help.


helpful (root word + suffix)

helping (root word + suffix)

unhelpful (prefix + root word + suffix)


girl washing up


If we know what role the different parts of a word play, it can help us to understand what the word means and how to spell it.


For example, the suffix -ful means 'full of' but it is always spelt with one l. So if we want to write the word meaning 'full of joy' we know that it is spelt joyful and not joyfull.


happy girl


The prefix ir- gives a word its opposite meaning.

ir + responsible = irresponsible

If we know that the word is built up this way, we know that we need double r at the beginning rather than just one r.


In this activity, you can use your knowledge of root words, prefixes and suffixes to help to spell words.


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